Sinn Féin will again fail to stand by the State and our criminal justice system by refusing to vote on the renewal of the Offences Against the State and Criminal Justice Acts, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said, “Sinn Féin TD Deputy Eoin Ó Broin has today reportedly stated his party will neither vote for or against the renewal of the Offences Against the State and Criminal Justice Acts in the coming weeks.
“This time last year, Sinn Féin representatives walked out and turned their back on the Dáil and refused to vote on the annual motion to reaffirm the legislation to protect the State from terrorists and witnesses from intimidation in the Special Criminal Court.
“By the sounds of it, we’ll be seeing the party pull the same political stunt again this year. How can Sinn Féin justify sitting back on the annual renewal of crucial legislation?
“Sinn Féin are continuing to refuse to take a stance on this issue and instead are planning to take the easy route out by not bothering to engage on one of the most important aspects of our criminal justice system.
“The Special Criminal Court protects our citizens in cases of intimidation and interference and has also been pivotal in our fight against gangland crime, removing dangerous criminals from our streets.
“As I highlighted last year, the continued high levels of jury intimidation over the past ten years makes the continued need for the Special Criminal Court clear as day. Figures from the Department of Justice show that over the ten year period to 2021, there were 92 convictions from 343 proceedings regarding jury intimidation or interference. Convictions have been particularly high in recent years, with the 2019 and 2020 figures the highest since 2011.
“As the party working to build stronger and safer communities, Fine Gael fully supports the renewal of the Offences Against the State Acts. We also recognise the need to continuously monitor and review the functioning of the Special Criminal Court, due to its particular significance.
“To not even bother to engage on this piece of legislation highlights Sinn Féin’s complete disregard for protecting the public and tackling serious crime. The Special Criminal Court is only ever used in exceptional circumstances, but when it is needed, it is used to remove crime from our communities and, ultimately, to protect lives,” concluded Deputy Carroll MacNeill.